Big Roster Changes Around the Corner for SKC

Championship-winning team will look a lot different in 2014
by Skylar Rolstad   |   Monday, December 16, 2013

John Hefti Photography - SKC, Sporting KC

Just the day after Sporting’s MLS Cup victory, the team held a celebration at downtown Kansas City’s Union Station. At the event Sporting’s Cup hero and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen announced his retirement from professional soccer after a 19-year career that included 4 seasons with SKC. 

This will be the first of several changes being made to Sporting’s championship-winning roster this season.  As always in MLS, change is inevitable, but through the last 3 years Sporting have done a great job of replacing important players that left and cashing in on outgoing stars.

Even before then speculation had begun about another key player leaving.  A report from The Telegraph revealed that a few English Championship teams are looking to sign Dom Dwyer in January. 

This article undoubtedly raised a lot of questions from fans.  In the summer transfer window Dwyer was set to be loaned to St. Mirren, but the deal fell through because of MLS rules.  This made Dwyer publicly frustrated and it is apparent that a return to England is something he longs for.  A report such as this one is probably exaggerated, given the lack of quotes regarding Dwyer’s potential departure and the English press’s reputation for blowing transfer news out of proportion. 

To exemplify this, I watched a video posted by the BBC about SKC manager Peter Vermes discussing English players’ success in MLS.  At the end of the video he tells the anchor that he predicts Frank Lampard will come to MLS, seemingly a more out-on-a-limb guess than any disclosure of information.  The video’s description reads, “Peter Vermes hints at a Lampard move to MLS.”  This is exactly the kind of news that gets people nervous for where players go during the transfer window. 

My advice: be careful what you read in the English press, and if it’s not in quotes it is surely exaggerated.  It is sometimes comical how out of proportion these reports are.  The report about Dwyer calls him “set to move to a Sky Bet Championship team” when in reality he probably was simply shown offers to move abroad.

A week after this mess, Sporting announced their first acquisition of the offseason – midfielder Sal Zizzo in a trade for allocation money.  Zizzo saw limited minutes with Portland Timbers last season but is a very good young player that can compete for a starting position on Sporting KC’s wing. 

As for outgoing players, Sporting will have to rid themselves of some SKC teammates this season as a consequence of the salary cap or roster limit.  Goalkeeper Eric Kronberg will be an interesting decision to make.  The long-time backup for SKC’s contract will end this year and Sporting will have to decide to either start him next season or bring in a new starting goalkeeper. 

Sporting’s roster will certainly look a lot different in 2 months’ time, but if Sporting’s front office has anything to say about it, the will not drop off quality-wise.  Vermes has already gone to Europe on a scouting trip, as President Robb Heinemann tweeted two weeks ago.

Change is surely coming.

NEXT UP: March 8 – Sporting KC vs. Seattle Sounders, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash. 3 p.m. EST, NBCSN.

Skylar ROLSTAD

Nationality:
USA
College:
Univ. of Kansas
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
AC Milan
A student at the University of Kansas. He writes for the Sporting Kansas City club column for Soccer Newsday and is a regular at Sporting Park. His passion for soccer can best be described as unhealthy.
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